Kerr looking for double at Oakmont
Cristie Kerr is relishing the tough test Oakmont Country Club will present at this week’s 65th US Women’s Open.
World number one Cristie Kerr is relishing the tough test Oakmont Country Club will present when she bids for back-to-back major victories at this week’s 65th US Women’s Open Championship in Pennsylvania.
Kerr, with five US Open top-10 finishes including victory in 2007, jumped to the top of the world rankings last month when she romped to a 12-stroke LPGA Championship win at Locust Hill Country Club, near Rochester, New York.
It was the 31-year-old American’s second LPGA Tour victory of the year and her fifth top-10 finish and helped her replace Japan’s Ai Miyazato at the head of the Rolex Rankings.
Now number two, Miyazato will lead a strong challenge in a field that features all of the top 20 players in the world and 28 of the top 30, including Australia’s Karrie Webb (nine), and the United States’ Michelle Wie (10) and Paula Creamer (13).
Last year’s champion, Eun-Hee Ji from Korea, is also competing as the US Women’s Open returns to the famous Oakmont course for the first time since the 1992 championship, won by Patty Sheehan.
“Oakmont is pretty cool, probably the coolest golf course I’ve been on,” Kerr said, before warning of the challenges it presents.
“It’s certainly one of the most penalising if you miss the fairways. The fairways are definitely hittable, but you can see why the scores have been what they have for champions to win here over the years.”
The last major championship staged at Oakmont was the men’s US Open in 2007, when Angel Cabrera of Argentina won at five over par, and Kerr predicted a similar winning score for the women in 2010 when she played the course back in May.
“I think it will play about as difficult as I said,” Kerr said last night. “I said that winning score of anywhere from four to however many over, you never know.
“It could be lower. Somebody could have a great performance but I knew the course was going to play like this going into it.
“I can only remember playing Newport Country Club (in Rhode Island, 2006) where the course was soft, and that’s only because they had 30 inches of rain in five days.
“Otherwise, US Open courses tend to play this way. That’s the way the USGA wants them to play.
“When I said the winning score, I was envisaging these conditions.”
Former LPGA Tour star and two-time major winner Dottie Pepper believes Kerr has the game to match those tough conditions.
“The last time the Open was here, there was a lot of rain,” said Pepper, who will commentate on the championship for NBC Sports.
“I expect a much faster track this time. It’s set up fair, more fair than last time. The greens are holding good shots. The bunkers may end up telling the story. They are severe.
“Cristie’s worked very hard to get to where she is. She’s built for Opens. She drives it long enough and she’s a grinder. That’s what it takes to win majors. Plus, she’s a ‘feel’ putter and that’s a big asset here.”
Johnny Miller, Pepper’s NBC colleague, won the men’s US Open at Oakmont in 1973 after shooting a final-round 63 and he too believes the course fits Kerr’s style.
“The big thing about Oakmont is that you have to hit it well but you also need to be a delicate, almost natural putter,” Miller said.
“Cristie is a fantastic putter with a gorgeous stroke. Oakmont should suit her well.”
‘Is this where I am going to die?’ Nicolas Colsaerts on kidney disorder battle
The Belgian is the focus of attention this week as he belatedly defends the Cazoo Open de France title he won three years ago.
On this day in 2008: Ryder Cup misery in Louisville for Nick Faldo’s Europe team
Faldo was heavily criticised for his tactics in the closing singles.
Open champion Cameron Smith wins first LIV trophy in just second start
The world number two is the highest-ranked player to join the rebel series.
Robert MacIntyre beats Matt Fitzpatrick in play-off to win Italian Open
MacIntyre birdied the first extra hole at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, the venue for next year’s Ryder Cup.
Matt Fitzpatrick holds narrow lead ahead of final round at Italian Open
Rory McIlroy and Aaron Rai are one shot off the pace.
Rory McIlroy picks up the pace to claim lead ahead of Matt Fitzpatrick in Rome
McIlroy’s group looked unlikely to complete their second rounds after taking three hours to play nine holes.
Matt Fitzpatrick leads way at Italian Open despite ‘inconsistent’ display
The US Open champion held a one-shot lead over fellow Englishman Tom Lewis,
Rory McIlroy rues a late night until eagle gets him flying in Italian Open
The four-time major winner was only a shot behind leader Matt Fitzpatrick after the first round of the Rome event.
Rory McIlroy begins Italian Open with superb 67 after recovering from slow start
He kick-started his round by holing out from 115 yards for an eagle on the par-four third.
Shane Lowry: Golf risks alienating fans with disgusting amount of money involved
The BMW PGA Championship winner insists he was never tempted to join LIV Golf.